Etchings and Prints
All the prints are made with fine oil-based inks on rag paper and can last for hundreds of years with care. Witness famous etchers such as Rembrandt, Whistler, Goya, and Daumier, to name a few whose prints hang in galleries today in pristine condition. A print is registered, when the heavy rollers of the press roll over an inked plate usually of copper or zinc, which is covered by the print paper. The weight of the press forces the dampened paper into the incised lines of the plate and the result is richly embossed quality that has left a heavy impression on a soft paper.
Before getting to the printing stage, several steps must be taken. First, the edges of the plate must be filed, then a ground is applied. next the ground has to be “scratched” away from the plate using a sharp tool with a needle point., and finally, the plate is dropped in acid so that what has been scratched into the plate will “bite” in the acid. Hence the word "etch" which is Dutch for "eat." This step can be repeated many times for different effects.
Finally, the plate is thoroughly cleaned, heated, inked, wiped and printed. If the artist is satisfied, it can be printed again and again. Or a ground can be re-applied and more drawing done, more acid, and then reprinted.
A Vocabulary of Prints
- Intaglio---Any print cut into the surface of a plate
- Drypoint---an image cut into a PLATE, so that when printed the cut part will print.
- Etching---A plate (usually copper or zinc) covered with a ground and bitten in an acid bath, so that when printed the cut part will print.
- Aquatint---Resin ground applied to a plate and bitten in acid to create shades on a plate, so that when printed the cut part will print.
- Relief Prints---In this technique, the image prints where the plate has not been cut away.
- Mono Print---Paint on a plate (plexiglas) printed only once and maybe a “shadow” can be “enhanced” when dry
- Colograph---Print from a plate with collage surfaces that have been printed to show variety of texture
- Block Print---Print is carved into the surface of wood or linoleum, so that when printed the uncut part will print